Friday, November 26, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  But this year I couldn't get in the mood...we've just been so busy (particularly me and Ellie....getting all of her application stuff done by the December 1st deadline).  So I decided to have a smaller gathering than we normally do.  Maybe next year I will get back to the full-blown production I normally love so much...but this year was exquisitely small and lovely.  When I say small, we had 16 people.  By our standards, that is a relatively microscopic Thanksgiving. Anyway, I enjoyed the day even though I hadn't necessarily been looking forward to it. 

I won't bore you with the details, oh what the heck, I WILL bore you with the details.  We did the usual with the Native American prayer....the really LONG one that my entire family claims to hate....the one where they all take turns addressing the Moon, Mother Earth, Thunderers, Medicinal Herbs, Water....etc while sighing and eye rolling and commenting that the food is getting cold...but they're just putting on (except for my sister who is genuinely disgusted by the entire more reason I love it).  It is a very beautiful and moving prayer and it fits in nicely with my wanting to show gratefulness without having to decide to WHOM I am grateful...without having to contemplate material comforts, or even things such as good health, as blessings that are bestowed upon me by a creator who has the choice to bless some while others go hungry (I know, I isn't that simple and I over-think things but this is ME and how I feel and well, it's my blog). 

Basically what I'm saying is, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of being blessed...but not uncomfortable with the idea of being Thankful as long as I'm on an even playing field with everyone else - not "blessed" by a god who can pick and choose favorites. I have tons of good stuff in my life and I don't know why that is, and I'm fine without knowing.  It isn't anything I've done to put me in God's favor, just like it isn't anything anyone else has done to put them out of God's favor.  I'd prefer to think it is just chance - not a conscious decision made by an entity, that I haven't been covered in a mudslide, or drowned by a tsunami, or starved by a famine. 

When I contemplate thankfulness, I do like feeling a connection to all living things, to an energy that emanates from Somewhere or Something that I am somehow a part of.  But I really don't like to feel that I'm being given any special consideration, because I don't believe I am. I know that many of my religious friends feel this, and simply recognize it in a different form.  Not all rreligious people think of God in Santa Claus terms.  But I still think that the General Idea Sold to the Masses is that of a Santa Claus God who knows when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake, one who can choose a candy cane or a lump of coal for you, so you'd darn well better be good (but not for the sake of goodness - just to avoid the lump of coal).  I prefer to think of whatever magic it is that caused creation....I use the term magic, by the way, for many the thing that you stick in the computer...that little thingy...and it lights up and stuff and then stuff comes OUT of the computer ONTO the little thingy...and the little thingy fits in your pocket and that is magic, being relatively indifferent, but beautiful in its indifference.  It is what it is.

I think last year I also said some spiritual mumbo jumbo about this time.  I probably should have just posted a link to last year and I'd have been done with it.  Last year's pictures also look similar to this year's - same activities - same people - all a little bit older.  But this blog is my journal, and I like to see how we've all changed, and read about the ways in which we haven't. 

After our lengthy prayer (and Camille read her part for the first time this year....thereby proving AGAIN to my dad that unschooling eventually works....although I think he might believe the kids get educated despite my philosophy, not because of it).  Last year at Thanksgiving, my dad was still recuperating from his dreadful fall....sitting at my house in a wheelchair for crying out loud, looking all pathetic (but putting in a really good effort at memorizing some Pearl Jam lyrics while Jeff played the guitar), so I am extremely THANKFUL to the Indifferent Source for that fact that he was walking around unassisted all day yesterday, that he's back to work at his office and also running my kids around for me when I need it. 

Once the prayer was over, everyone dug in and the talk was lively and loud (my sister was there) and we talked about everything under the sun, including the airport patdowns and other Controversial Things.  What do I think about airport patdowns, you ask?  You did ask, right?  Well, I think that as long as there are terrorists ready and willing to detonate their crotches on airplanes....I don't mind being felt up.  Or having my kids felt up.  I know, that is a big stinker for a lot of folks....but I'd rather have my kid felt up than blown up.  Sorry.  Also?  The porn machines?  Do not bother me.  At all.  It's the closest I'll ever come to a centerfold shoot. 

Some people have real concerns and issues regarding this matter...meaning they really ARE uncomfortable with being touched or scanned, and I feel badly for them because I can understand it.  But a lot of people?  Just like to think the liberals are out to get them....via things like airport patdowns.  They're ready to start throwing tea bags or refusing to be scanned so that they can bring airports everywhere to screaming halts just like they're bringing Washington to a screaming halt.  Oh my.  Look where I went!  And I really just meant to post these pictures.  Because our Thanksgiving always consists of Smashing Pumpkins. It is a tradition in our house to throw pumpkins off of our bridge and into the San Antonio River for Really No Good Reason That I Can Think Of.  Except that it is fun. 

Lots of people have joined us in this activity...neighbors, friends, relatives, and soldiers we've hosted from nearby bases....lots of folks have launched pumpkins on Thanksgiving.  This year it was a small group, but we were enthusiastic.  Some friends didn't have pumpkins so they brought watermelons.  They also made a good splash.  Oh, and before I commence with the picture posting, let me say that we didn't slaughter and eat our own turkeys this year.  We ordered them too late and they weren't ready, so they've been pardoned until New Year's.

 Here they are lining up to launch.  Both Jeff AND Jasper are making identical goofy faces (this continued throughout the event) and it was completely unplanned.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  And there's Ellie with her publicity photo face.
 Oops.  Looks like there was a premature launch.
 We started off the day with the air conditioner on and the temps very warm...a cold front blew in with a vengeance...that's how it works in our neck of the woods....and we were in the 30's last night (air conditioner turned OFF).  Ellie looks like she's freezing to death here, and she is the kid who wants to go live where it snows??
 My dad with Camille.  She's wearing the new outfit he bought her. 
 More goofiness.  Jeff didn't look normal in a single picture. 
 And here Jasper's new scarf is getting in Jeff's mouth.  Ellie crocheted him a scarf and hat.  She's like a little yarn factory, at the moment.  Spitting out hats, leg warmers, and scarves at a frantic pace.  Because she can't ever relax, that's why.  Poor Matthew is looking at me like, "Thanks for making me pose with your family.  Hurry up, they're weird."
 I asked Ellie and Joel to pose together so they did a Boxing Match Scowl Poster.  Joel can't hide his grin, though.  It is very hard for him to EVER wipe a grin off of his face.  One more reason his 1st grade teacher didn't care for him.'s how they really feel.  I think they're going to miss each other when Ellie heads to college.  Well, I know they are.  Although Ellie just wants to get the heck out of here...she's going to miss us. My dad keeps trying to make her feel bad..."At my age, how many more times am I going to see you if you head towards Canada for college?" yada yada....and Ellie, who is not known for being massively sentimental, by the way, finally said yesterday, "Stop threatening to die while I'm at college!!"  She's really close with her grandpa, and he's going to miss her. A lot.
 And here she is with Jules, who doesn't like to be touched but is happy to pose for a picture with his sister. As long as she doesn't touch him.  At all.  Which she didn't.
So it was another great Thanksgiving.  I promise my next post will be about Joel's school efforts with distance learning, and our Big Fight With The Community College.  Which we lost, by the way.


  1. I was hoping for video of the big splashes.

    Could you go back today and do that?

    So cool the relationship your dad has with the kids. They'll treasure it later even more than they do now.

    We had our T day with just us. Something that's really important to us all, but mostly to my hubby, whose holidays as a child often involved pain, both physical and mental.

    He likes that we have peace and no surprises here.

  2. Looks like you guys had a great time! I'm all for the new airport security measures. I'd go as far as strip and be humiliated than blown up!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Because I love every. single. thing. about this post, I'm not going to pick out one special thing or moment—because then the other wonderful words might feel bad!
    So in the spirit of thanking the indifferent (but always connecting and resonating inside and around us) source, I say, I am thankful for your words and thankful that I found you and thankful for how it makes a sympathetic vibration inside me, and thankful for being, and thankful that you, as always, made me laugh. Always—please—write the details!

  4. At first, I was like "What's a porn machine? And better yet, where can I buy one?". But then I figured it out. Listen, I'm all on board with being pat down. In fact, it doesn't even need to be at an airport.
    I wanted to "host" some soldiers from nearby military bases this year too but Fred refused. He said, "Mark, Thanksgiving was two days ago". I said, "What's your point?". My luck, I would send out an invite and get a big butch dyke name Sue.
    My Claire reminds me of the curly haired versions of your girls. I don't know why but she just does.
    Wasn't Jeff cold?
    We went to my Mom's this year for Thanksgiving. My Aunt Pam and she cooked everything. Fred and I cleaned-up and did the dishes afterwords while she relaxed. It was perfect. Although no praying was happening. My Mom lived through the "magic" years of the Catholic Church and Schools. She's a little burned out. I like your prayer theme and I like the path that you're on. Whatever it is, Heaven, Karma, reincarnation, etc..., I have a good feeling that you'll be rewarded greatly. I'll probably come back as a Texas pumpkin.
    Your Friend, m.

  5. Waiting for the story about Joel and his class . . .